Hello Tom,It is good to hear from you.It seems that you built up your 10 years lawful residence in the UK in 2012 i.e. 10 years after you first arrived here in 2002. You should therefore count your absences outside the UK up to 2012. As long as you were not out of the UK for 180 days continous at any time and as long as you were not out of the UK for an excessive amount of days over and above the 540 days, I would suggest that you apply for ILR right away.There is discretion if you exceed the 540 days out of the UK over the 10 year period e.g. medical, compelling reasons, so I would not worry too much about this if I were you as long as you meet all other criteria. You do not need to give any reasons for wanting ILR as long as you have 10 years lawful residence, it would be a straight forward application in your case. Personally, I think you have a very good case for obtaining ILR here in the UK based on Article 8 (family life in the UK).
All the best -apply for your ILR as soon as possible.
Sorry, that much is what I know already.. That's the type of information that I can look up online anywhere, e.g. from the UKBA homepage.
As I have given you all the information above, it will only become 605 days in April 2006 - and I heard these days, the 540 days absence guideline is becoming more and more strict. What I wonder is what kind of discretion I could use, and whether there is anything else to fortify my case to obtain ILR. I just wonder what information for UKBA is helpful to consider my case to be strong, even though the absence is longer than 540 days (by about 60 days). It seems like you have dealt with a lot of similar cases so you must have the "feel" for which pieces of information is helpful for the application, and I want to know your personal experience what helped and what didn't for the discretion.
And no, I have not left this country for more than 180 days at any point. I am still thinking it will be wiser for me to apply in 2016 April when the absence goes down to about 605 days, because if I apply now, it will be more than 800 days, and I don't think that's something discretion help to overlook.
Thank you for your reply in advance.
This - is the information I needed. Thank you very much. Well, when they say a partner, I am sure they mean a partner by the marriage rather than a relationship, I guess.. I was out of this country, because I had nowhere to stay really, the university would not let me stay in the accommodation that I used for the term time..
However, there must be lots of students who are in the same boat as I am, and this would be a very weak case to make for discretion I guess? Anyways, I did lose my grandfather and I could make one of my holidays to be family member's illness and funeral, and one of them to be my medical reason (sleep disorder)..
Seems like I just *might* be able to pull it. Thank you very much. Also if I want to apply for ILR, and if I become in need of a lawyer, how would I get in contact with you - if you don't mind dealing with the case?
That is precisely why I "feel" like your case may go through. Please make sure you explain your absences as you have done, however, I wouldn't tell them that I had no place to stay in the UK which is why I had to be out of the UK for so long! But if you say your finances were low and you could not afford to find suitable accomodation in the UK, that would be more convincing.
You may also mention the fact that you have a partner here, no need to be married!Sorry, we are not able to take cases from here, rules of the site, but you may look for a good immigration lawyer yourself.All the best
Thank you. Everything that I needed to know. Have a great day, and thanks again for your help. However, I did hear from the lawyers that 540 days guideline has become more strict though, which is quite annoying.
You are very welcome.
It may be stricter but that doesn't mean it is impossible.
The Home Office normally disregard absences of up to 900 days for naturalisation as a British Citizen applications based on 5 years residence in the UK, there is really no reason why they should not disregard similar absences over a 10 year period for along residence settlement application.
See this Nationality Instruction document: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/nationalityinstructions/nichapter18/ch18annexb?view=Binary
Also, you should only count whole days out of the UK, do not count the days you fly out and fly in to the UK.All the best